Details have emerged about the case involving Secret Service agents sent home from Colombia following allegations that they were involved with prostitutes in Cartagena where Obama is attending the Sixth Summit of the Americas.
Two days before Obama's arrival in Colombia, after a night of partying at the Hotel Caribe with local prostitutes, a dispute arose between an agent and a woman who said the agent did not pay her for services rendered. Daily Mail reported the sum in question was $47. The hotel manager called the police after he was unable to resolve the dispute. The agent involved first disputed the prostitute's claim but later paid up.
According to Business Insider, an investigation was conducted to determine who invited call girls to the party. It was found that 22 Americans — 17 Secret Service agents and five members of the U.S. Special forces — were involved. The information was passed to the U.S. Embassy and on Thursday, 11 agents were recalled.
According to Digital Journal, the agents were sent back home and replaced by other personnel. A Secret Service spokesman said the incident was under investigation.
Screengrab / ABC news
Secret service agents at work protecting the president of U.S.
Business Insider reports the Secret Service said in a statement, that the agents were put on administrative leave after they had been interviewed by agency officials in Washington. The five special forces men involved in the party, however, remain in Colombia. They have been confined and ordered not to have contact with any one.
According to Daily Mail, U.S. Rep. Peter King (R-NY), chairman of the House Homeland Security Committee that oversees the Secret Service, said almost all the agents had prostitutes in their rooms and worse still, many of them were married men. King said he was told that all visitors to the hotel are required to leave identification at the front desk and leave the hotel by 7 a.m., but when hotel staff found that a woman did not leave they investigated and found that she was with one of the agents. When the woman was leaving, a dispute arose between her and the agent over payment for services rendered, with the agent arguing he did not have to pay.
The agency, reacting to the incident, said: "This incident is not reflective of the behavior of our personnel as they travel every day throughout the country and the world performing their duties in a dedicated, professional manner. We regret any distraction from the Summit of the Americas this situation has caused."
Contrary to previous reports, the agents were not part of the president's personal security detail. The White House was informed of the scandal on Thursday, the president on Friday, after he arrived in Cartagena.
Daily Mail reports Carney said Obama did not allow himself to be distracted by the scandal. Paul Morrissey, Secret Service assistant director, said in a statement: "We regret any distraction from the Summit of the Americas this situation has caused."